EVERTON have moved closer to a permanent deal for Azerbaijani wonderkid Araz Abdullayev - as they missed out on another of their January midfield targets.
The Toffees have signed the 18-year-old midfielder subject to him being granted a work permit, although the youngest player to be capped by his country will remain at his club, Neftchi, for most of the season.
Abdullayev shot to the attention of a host of European sides after scoring a spectacular goal against Scotland Under-21s in March last year, and has long been linked with a move to Merseyside.
When he arrives at Goodison later this year he will train with the first team, while club officials apply for his work permit.
The deal will be good news for David Moyes' investment in youth, although another more immediate potential signing, Tottenham midfielder David Bentley, yesterday joined Birmingham City on loan instead.
Moyes had hoped to persuade the right-sided midfielder to seek first team football at Everton, but the Londoner has been lured by the financial terms on offer in the Midlands.
The Everton boss also said he has yet to receive any bids for striker Yakubu, despite reports that Championship club Leicester City are tracking him.
The forward has been the subject of media speculation linking him with a move away from Goodison during the current transfer window.